ConfChem Online Conference, Fall 2017, Mathematics in First-Year Chemistry Instruction

10/26/2017 - 11/27/2017
Online Conference

How can we improve student success in introductory chemistry courses?

Chemistry is a quantitative science. In recent years, many instructors have noted increased deficits in the math background of students enrolling in undergraduate courses. Recent research in cognitive science points to the importance of “automated” background knowledge in arithmetic and algebra as a foundation for solving scientific calculations. Experiments by chemistry instructors have seen gains in student achievement by adding to their department offerings and/or courses additional review of the math needed for chemistry.

From October 26 to November 27, 2017, the ACS DivChEd Committee on Computers in Chemical Education (CCCE) will sponsor an online conference (a “ConfChem”) on “Chem-Math.” Two papers will be presented each week from instructors who have collected data on their efforts to strengthen quantitative problem solving. Then, over a 3 to 4 day period for each paper, authors will answer questions submitted online. Conference participants will also discuss (and occasionally debate!) issues raised in each article.

Planned paper topics include:

  • The impact of reviewing both arithmetic and algebra “just in time” for topics in preparatory, engineering, life science, and general chemistry;
  • Improving estimating skills by teaching courses (including Physical Chemistry) with minimal calculator use;
  • Using computation and simulation software to assist students with calculations;
  • Employing “paper and pencil-based” problems to develop “automaticity” and “fluency” in the skills needed for calculations;
  • Reducing student apprehension when learning to solve scientific calculations;
  • Recent cognitive studies on the importance of memorization of math (and science) fundamentals, algorithmic problem solving, and building conceptual understanding.

For information on participation in the discussion of ConfChem papers, see Discussion Protocols

Please mark your calendars to join us for the Fall ConfChem -- from October 26 to November 27 -- at .


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